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Fowler Feature: Austin Sandy

Guest Writer

Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013

Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013 16:09

Austin Sandy

Staci Vandagriff

Drum major, Austin Sandy, conducts the Sound of the Natural State before the start of the football game against Troy Aug. 12.

Born and raised in Jonesboro, Austin Sandy, a sophomore graphic design major, grew up with a connection to Arkansas State University.

Sandy attended Valley View High School and made the decision to stay in Jonesboro.

“Arkansas State offered the best scholarships and the Honors College staff made me feel welcome—like I had been here for years.”

The Honors College and the College of Fine Arts are foundations for Sandy’s on-campus involvement. Honors College students know him as the undergraduate assistant for Honors, fellow Honors College Association member and Honors Ambassador.  
Through the College of Fine Arts Sandy participates in The Sound of the Natural State marching band (where he leads the band as a drum major), the basketball pep band, and has been a member of the ASU Symphonic Winds. He is also a Chancellor’s Ambassador through the Office of Recruitment.

Sandy’s involvement doesn’t stop on-campus; he is very active in the Jonesboro community. He is a member of the Jonesboro Christian Church, where he is involved in the choir, handbell ensemble, and praise team, a volunteer fireman at the Southridge Fire Department, and he has been a counselor at Camp Quality Arkansas, a summer camp for children with cancer and their siblings.

Even though he’s involved in a variety of organizations on and off campus, Sandy’s true passion lies in music and the arts.

In the sixth grade he chose to play alto saxophone.

“Both my parents were in band, and conveniently they both played saxophone so it seemed like a natural choice. They have always been a big influence in my life and they support my music goals.”

Throughout his high school years, Sandy’s musical prowess extended to playing the baritone and soprano saxophones. He was a drum major at Valley View High School, which helped him develop leadership skills that he took with him into college, where he is now one of three drum majors for The Sound of the Natural State marching band.

“I love conveying music through motion. If a drum major can feel the music and convey a meaning to the musicians they will create a beautiful song for the audience,” he said. “ I also love the companionship of being in band. My closest friends are my fellow band members.”

Music may be one half of Sandy’s life, but the other half is consumed by art. Sandy decided to major in graphic design his senior year of high school when he joined the yearbook staff and began to focus on photography and design.

As a graphic design student and art history minor, Sandy was given the opportunity to embark on a study abroad trip to Madrid, Spain lead by Temma Balducci. During his summer adventure he was immersed in the Spanish culture, learned as much of the Spanish language as he could, experienced some of the best food he had ever tasted, and created memories that will last him a lifetime.

“I enjoyed seeing all four of the Spanish Royal Palaces. They each hold a variety of historical art and one, El Escorial, contains the royal crypt where deceased kings and queens are buried,” Sandy stated.

Being a graphic design student, he is always creating and inventing. He has made several 2-D art pieces, but is still honing his 2-D art abilities.

“(My 3-D skills are) really coming together.”  
Two of his favorite pieces he’s created include “Infinity Box,” a sculpture inspired by his weight loss journey, and “Spanish Man,” a photograph he took in Madrid that won first place at the Northeast Arkansas District Fair.

Collections of Sandy’s art are on display in the Honors College lounge, and his next performance with The Sound of the Natural State will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 as the Arkansas State Red Wolves take on the Missouri Tigers.

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